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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

South Carolina: Researchers Study Impact of Removing Cost Sharing Under the Affordable Care Act

A team of researchers from the Departments of Health Services Policy and Management and Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior in the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health have published a study on the impact of removing cost sharing under the affordable care act on mammography and pap test use. The paper was included in BMC Public Health.

Under the Affordable Care Act, private insurers and Medicare were required to cover recommended preventive services without cost sharing. With this study, the researchers sought to identify the impact of removing cost sharing on mammography and pap tests to see if zero out-of-pocket payment improved utilization rates of these services.

The authors used counterfactual analysis to show that the utilization of mammograms and pap tests did not improve following the enactment of the Affordable Care Act. They concluded that because the removal of cost-sharing under the Affordable Care Act did not lead to increase utilization, the financial barrier may not be as important as often assumed in influencing utilization of preventive services. Therefore, policy makers should focus on other non-financial barriers in order to improve coverage of the tests.